Sherman's Food Adventures: Howlin' Ray's

Howlin' Ray's

Back in 2019, I was in LA and seriously considered lining up for hours at Howlin' Rays.  For those who do not know, they specialize in Nashville Hot Chicken and at one point, there used to be lineups as long as 3 hours.  Well I didn't end up going because I had better things to do than wait in a line for 3 hours.  Little did I know that it would take me until 2022 to attempt to try it again.  This time around, I merely ordered online and picked it up.  Easy peasy.  

Of course I got The Sando in extra-hot.  That is only one below their hottest flavor.  Oh and this was indeed spicy.  My lips were burning and my stomach was warm.  I could feel the onset of indigestion.  But oh it was yums because even though it was tongue-numbing, I could still taste the other spices.  The big boneless breast was tender, but not juicy.  The crunch from the batter was solid while the sauce was uniform from them dipping the whole thing in the spiced oil.  Crunchy coleslaw (that was not overdressed) cooled things down a notch while the bun was soft enough to conform to the chicken without falling apart.  This was a really good hot chicken sandwich!

To get a sense of what mild tasted like, I got the Leg Quarter served on bread with pickles.  Man, that chicken was so perfectly brined as it was juicy and super succulent.  However, it wasn't salty though, just flavorful with plenty of natural chicken goodness.  Loved the batter on the outside as it was crunchy like the one in the sandwich.  The skin was well-rendered too.  Mild still had a bit of spice, but perfect for those who can't handle hot. 

To round out this "snack" (I had lunch already), I got Matt-style Fries with collard greens, cut up bacon, comeback sauce, braised tomatoes and melted cheddar cheese.  This was rather messy and quite a bit of stuff on top of the fries.  Hence, they were not very crunchy anymore, but the flavor was tangy with cheesiness and the creaminess of the sauce. Good for the inebriated.  Although this was just a quick snack from Howlin' Rays, it was enough to confirm the hype.  Their stuff is legit and I would have it again when I'm back in LA.

The Good:
- Spicy, but can taste the spices
- Excellent fried chicken
- Friendly people

The Bad:
- It used to be the lineup, but not really anymore.  However, wasn't that part of the charm?  Hey but I'm not complaining that I don't need to lineup!


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